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    Plants have evolved a variety of approaches to attract pollinators, including enriching their nectar with essential nutrients. Because sodium is an essential nutrient for pollinators, and sodium concentration in nectar can vary both within and among species, we explored whether experimentally enriching floral nectar with sodium in five plant species would influence pollinator visitation and diversity. We found that the number of visits by pollinators increased on plants with sodium-enriched nectar, regardless of plant species, relative to plants receiving control nectar. Similarly, the number of species visiting plants with sodium-enriched nectar was twice that of controls. Our findings suggest that sodium in floral nectar may play an important but unappreciated role in the ecology and evolution of plant-pollinator mutualisms.


    Carrie J Finkelstein, Paul J CaraDonna, Andrea Gruver, Ellen A R Welti, Michael Kaspari, Nathan J Sanders. Sodium-enriched floral nectar increases pollinator visitation rate and diversity. Biology letters. 2022 Mar;18(3):20220016

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    PMID: 35232272

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